Climate Change & Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Climate change poses a direct risk to communities around the planet, as rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions result in higher global temperatures and contribute to more extreme heat, droughts, storm systems and rising sea levels. Addressing climate change through mitigation and adaptation will not just manage climate-related risks but will also provide an opportunity to build a more sustainable global economy. AT&T is part of the worldwide effort to accelerate this transition and achieve net zero GHG emissions.
In 2020, we committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2035 across our entire global operations (Scope 1 and 2). In 2021, we set interim targets that were approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and are outlined in the Our Goals & Progress section of this issue brief. We are scaling our efforts by also implementing emissions-reducing solutions for customers and communities and have a goal to deliver connectivity solutions that enable business customers to reduce a gigaton (1 billion metric tons) of GHG emissions between 2018 and 2035.
To strengthen the resilience of our communities and company against the impacts of climate change, we are also assessing and managing our climate-related risks and empowering others to do the same.Please note that 2022 data is estimated. Final values will be available in Q2 2023.
Our Goals & Progress
Reduce our absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions1 by 63% (2015 base year)—aligning with a 1.5 C pathway. (Approved by the SBTi in 2021.)
Progress2: Reduction of more than 41%1
2022 Scope 1 and 2 emissions were approximately 5.2 million metric tons (MT) of CO2 equivalent (CO2e). This represents a reduction of more than 41% from our 2015 base year (approximately 8.8 million MT of CO2e)— 65% attainment toward our Scope 1 and 2 science-based target.1* SBTi approved goal.
Achieve carbon neutrality (net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions1)
Progress: Reduction of more than 3.6 million metric tons of CO2e2
2022 Scope 1 and 2 emissions were approximately 5.2 million metric tons of CO2e. This represents a reduction of more than 3.6 million metric tons from our 2015 base year (approximately 8.8 million metric tons of CO2e)—more than 41% attainment toward our net zero target.2
Work to ensure 50% of our suppliers (covering purchased goods and services, capital goods and downstream leased assets as a portion of spend) set their own science-based Scope 1 and 2 targets by 2024.
Progress: 53% of suppliers have set science-based GHG emissions targets
In 2022, we met our Scope 3 science-based target 2 years ahead of schedule by ensuring that suppliers representing 53% of our spend have set science-based Scope 1 and 2 targets.* SBTi approved goal.
Customer Emissions Reduction Enablement
Deliver connectivity solutions that enable business customers to reduce a gigaton (1 billion metric tons) of GHG emissions between 2018 and 2035.
Progress: Enabled 149.2 million metric tons of customer emissions savings
Between 2018 and 2022, AT&T identified 24 Smart Climate Solutions for which we’ve calculated emissions reductions. The use of these solutions has enabled emissions reductions of 149.2 million metric tons of CO2e—approximately 15% of our Gigaton Goal.3
Climate Change & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data2
|U.S. carbon footprint (Scopes 1, 2 & 3 in MT CO2e)45||11,100,000||9,400,000||7,900,000||6,700,000||17,300,000|
|Global carbon footprint (Scopes 1, 2 & 3 in MT CO2e)45||12,000,000||10,400,000||8,600,000||7,400,000||18,300,000|
|GHG emissions intensity (Scopes 1 & 2 in MT CO2e/billion dollars of revenue)6||45,400||36,000||40,600||41,400||43,000|
|GHG emissions intensity (Scopes 1 & 2 in MT CO2e/1,000 subscribers)7||38||31||25||22||20|
|Scope 1 GHG emissions (MT CO2e)||1,000,000||1,000,000||1,000,000||1,000,000||930,000|
|Scope 2 GHG emissions (MT CO2e)||6,700,000||5,400,000||4,700,000||4,600,000||4,300,000|
|Scope 3 GHG emissions (MT CO2e)5||6,700,000||6,000,000||4,900,000||1,800,000||13,100,000|
Our Actions & Impacts
In 2022, AT&T continued efforts to reduce our impact on climate change and decrease our GHG emissions:
- As we pursue our Gigaton Goal, we recognize the need to work with other corporate leaders in order to combine complementary strengths in high-emitting industries. To spur this collaboration, we established the Connected Climate Initiative (CCI). In 2022, we welcomed two new partners, Salesforce and GeoTab, to the CCI and worked together to launch platforms that combine our Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities with each partner’s capabilities.
- We made progress toward carbon neutrality by continuing to explore opportunities to invest in renewable energy and taking steps to transition our fleet from fossil fuel–dependent vehicles to electric vehicles.
- We conducted an in-depth review of our Scope 3 emissions inventory. That analysis now has us increasing our Scope 3 reporting categories from 6 in 2021 to 10 in 2022. With this additional insight, we will be better equipped to reduce our emissions.
- Tied to our efforts to prepare our company and the communities we serve for risks related to climate change, we supported the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) in the development and deployment of a new climate resilience tool called the Climate Risk & Resilience Portal (ClimRR), which allows communities to better understand and address the expected future impacts of climate change.
We apply several policies, oversight structures, management roles and procedures to manage climate change within AT&T:
- Climate Change Policy: AT&T’s Climate Change Policy explains our approach to managing the impacts of climate change. We continually strive to help our customers be more sustainable, reduce our own GHG emissions and increase resilience throughout our operations.
- Climate Strategy & Transition Plan: Our Climate Strategy & Transition Plan provides information about AT&T’s approach to supporting the transition to a net zero economy.
- Energy Policy: Our Energy Policy outlines AT&T’s commitment to the efficient, cost-effective and environmentally responsible use of energy while maintaining or improving quality, reliability, productivity and safety.
Board of Directors Oversight
- Governance & Policy Committee (GPC): The GPC of the AT&T Board of Directors (Board) meets 3–4 times per year to assist the Board in oversight of AT&T’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy, including related policies, programs and ESG reporting. In 2022, the predecessor to the GPC (the Public Policy and Corporate Reputation Committee) held 3 regularly scheduled meetings, which included sharing climate transition and ESG reporting–related information.
- Audit Committee: The Audit Committee of the Board oversees our internal audit of ESG reporting and our integration of ESG issues into corporate enterprise risk management analysis.
Climate-related Management Roles
- Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO): Our CSO, who is also our Senior Vice President (SVP)—Corporate Responsibility and ESG, oversees AT&T’s climate-related risks, opportunities and strategy-setting process, and receives weekly updates on climate-related activities and developments throughout the business. Our CSO engages with individual GPC members throughout the year, presents on relevant topics and is present at all GPC meetings for ESG dialogue.
- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Governance Council: Our CSR Governance Council is led by our CSO and is comprised of more than a dozen officers representing business operations aligned to our most important ESG focus areas, such as climate change and GHG emissions. It meets 3–4 times per year and collaborates across a broad range of initiatives, competencies and perspectives.
- Assistant Vice President of Global Environmental Sustainability: As a direct report to the CSO, the Assistant Vice President (AVP)—Global Environmental Sustainability oversees AT&T’s climate-related strategy and leads our Environment Committee, which comprises senior business leaders from across the company.
- Environmental Sustainability Team: Members of our global environmental sustainability team, also led by our AVP Global Environmental Sustainability, monitor internal and external climate-related developments and communicate the most relevant issues to the CSO. The team works closely with business unit experts throughout our operating companies to implement and enhance programs and policies addressing climate-related risks and opportunities for AT&T.
- Senior Vice President of Network Engineering & Operations: Our SVP—Network Engineering and Operations has responsibility for the resilience of our network and real estate assets, including energy and water use, and oversees the management of climate-related impacts to our operations. This includes our commitments to renewable energy, energy efficiency, network disaster response and business continuity planning, as well as implementation and adoption of tools such as AT&T’s Climate Change Analysis Tool (CCAT).
Climate-Related Ties to Leadership Compensation
- Executive Officers: Our CEO and other Named Executive Officers have short-term incentives focusing on strategic metrics such as “leadership in driving transformation across the organization consistent with the Company’s multiyear transformation initiatives.” In 2022, attainment included initiatives that drove progress toward global emissions reductions—both through energy reduction and increased usage of renewable energy—consistent with AT&T’s overarching ESG and business objectives.
- Senior Leaders: In addition, demonstrated progress toward and achievement of goals related to climate-related issues (such as our approved science-based carbon reduction targets and our 2035 carbon-neutral goal) are part of the annual performance objectives for our CSO—VP Implementation, Provisioning and Optimization, and other senior leaders across our business. Performance toward such goals is taken into account when these individuals’ supervisors determine annual merit salary increases and bonus awards.
For more information about how remuneration is tied to the management of climate-related issues, among other topics, please visit our Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures Report and CDP response.
- GHG Emissions Management: We evolve our GHG emissions management program and reporting tools to keep pace with the changing landscape and scope of our company, as well as with relevant standards, protocols and best practices. We work with an integrated energy services provider to compile, analyze and produce annual reports related to our GHG emissions. The content and methods related to data calculation, estimation and aggregation are reviewed each year to identify opportunities for improvement. We are in the process of automating significant portions of our GHG emissions data collection and the calculations associated with our annual GHG emissions statement. The goal is to reduce data collection time, reduce processing time, speed up data validation and decrease the likelihood of human error. We expect to test this system for the 2022 reporting cycle and transition to this system for the 2023 reporting cycle. Higher quality and more quickly available data will help us better understand our opportunities to reduce emissions. View AT&T’s Inventory Management Plan for more information on AT&T’s data collection, calculation and accounting methodologies.
- Reporting Quality: We integrate ESG topics identified through our regularly occurring stakeholder assessment into our corporate enterprise risk management analysis. We also obtain annual, independent assurance of our Scope 1, 2 and 3 (select categories) emissions, as well as select energy figures. For our 2022 reporting, S&P Trucost Limited conducted this assurance effort. The rigor of this process helps us realize continual, year-over-year improvements in accuracy. This assurance process will be completed in Q2 2023.
- Oversight of GHG Emissions: The AT&T Implementation, Provisioning and Optimization organization oversees numerous aspects of our business that impact GHG emissions, including energy efficiency and energy conservation measures, decommissioning activities, and renewable energy programs and purchases. Other measures affecting our emissions—such as our fleet, employee travel and expense policies—are managed within distinct departments in accordance with organizational directives and procedures.
Climate Change Strategy
To help us better understand how AT&T is positioned to respond to climate change, we assess the potential impacts and the magnitude of climate-related risks on our operations, including our network infrastructure, products and brand. Our resulting climate strategy focuses on three areas: mitigation, adaptation and response.
Mitigation: Our Customer Impacts
AT&T connectivity solutions can help enable emissions reductions in industries that currently have large environmental footprints, such as transportation, energy, manufacturing and agriculture.
In 2021, we launched the AT&T Gigaton Goal to deliver connectivity solutions that enable business customers to cumulatively save a gigaton (1 billion metric tons) of GHG emissions from 2018 through 2035. A gigaton is equal to approximately 19% of U.S. GHG emissions in 2020.8 This goal will measure emissions reductions enabled by a set of Smart Climate Solutions from 2018—2035 and progress will be reported annually. Between 2018 and 2022, AT&T identified 24 Smart Carbon Solutions for which we have calculated emissions reductions. Use of these solutions has enabled emissions reductions of 149.2 million metric tons of CO2e—approximately 15% of our Gigaton Goal.3
Smart Climate Solutions & the Connected Climate Initiative
In order to achieve the Gigaton Goal, we need to increase the number and adoption of AT&T Smart Climate Solutions—technology solutions that utilize AT&T connectivity to enable efficiency or product developments that reduce emissions. We have identified 9 key Impact Areas where AT&T connectivity can play a fundamental role in reducing emissions, including Modern Workplace, Transportation, Healthcare, Smart Cities and Buildings, Industrial, Energy, Consumer/Retail, Food, Beverage and Agriculture, and Reseller. We worked with The Carbon Trust to develop an abatement factor that represents the average emissions that can be achieved using an AT&T-enabled solution. For more information, please see the 2022 AT&T Gigaton Goal Progress Update.
To advance this effort, AT&T formed the CCI, a collection of complementary technology and industrial companies, universities and non-profits that are working together to scale Smart Climate Solutions.
- Purpose: Through CCI, we convene the brightest minds from leading technology companies, AT&T Business customers, universities and non-profits to identify best practices, develop innovative new products and use cases, and scale the innovations of startup partners building 5G and other broadband-enabled Smart Climate Solutions.
- Collaboration: We work with businesses including Microsoft, Equinix and Duke Energy; research universities such as Texas A&M University, Purdue University and the University of Missouri; and a range of other organizations to make an impact at a global scale.
- 2022 CCI Smart Climate Solution Examples:
- We integrated AT&T IoT into the Salesforce Net Zero Cloud to make it easier for construction companies to track emissions related to their assets in the field, such as heavy equipment, in near-real time. This will enable our customers to more quickly identify opportunities to reduce emissions.
- We worked with Microsoft to bring the Connected Spaces product to market, combining AT&T IoT connectivity and Microsoft’s Azure cloud environment to help facility operators track emissions in a more granular and timely manner.
- Our work with GeoTab resulted in the use of telematics data to inform electric vehicle transition strategies. This enables customers to make informed decisions about how to electrify their fleets, helping speed the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles and achieve the associated emissions reduction.
Mitigation: Our Own Impacts
AT&T supports the Paris Agreement, as demonstrated by our public emissions reduction goals. Our 2030 science-based target for Scope 1 and 2 emissions aligns with a 1.5-degree pathway, exceeding the ambitions of the treaty. We are also advancing toward a 2035 carbon-neutral (Scope 1 and 2) goal. Underlying these goals are our commitments to a world-class energy efficiency program, continued renewable energy procurement and reducing emissions from our fleet. We will also continue to conduct climate engagement activities aligned with the Paris Agreement.
Our mitigation goals and initiatives are also aligned with Goal 13 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on climate action—specifically Target 13.1 to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries and Target 13.3 to improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.
We are working to achieve these goals through the following initiatives:
- Scope 1 Emissions Reduction: Approximately 51% of AT&T’s Scope 1 emissions come from our ground fleet.2 Our fleet team is assessing plans to transition our vehicles to low-carbon alternatives.
- Scope 2 Emissions Reduction: Purchased electricity and steam are a predominant source of emissions for AT&T, with market-based Scope 2 emissions accounting for more than 82% of our total operational emissions (Scope 1 and 2). AT&T is actively addressing these emissions through renewable energy procurement and the implementation of more energy efficiency projects and network optimization efforts.
- In 2022, AT&T renewable energy deals accounted for approximately 2.9 million MWhs of produced electricity.
- AT&T uses IoT solutions to drive efficiency in our internal operations. To optimize energy use in our buildings, we implemented a solution that uses AT&T connectivity to acquire performance data from facility equipment across the U.S. We analyze the data centrally to create performance baselines, monitor equipment status and identify required maintenance in real time. This contributes to significant savings on maintenance costs, as well as reductions in unnecessary energy use. Learn more about how we use IoT to manage our AT&T facilities in our case study.
- Scope 3 Emissions Accounting: AT&T conducted a thorough assessment of Scope 3 emissions in 2022 and the company is now reporting on 10 of the 15 Scope 3 categories. AT&T’s approach to Scope 3 emissions is to first develop reliable and accurate emissions accounting and then create strategies for Scope 3 emissions reductions to ensure we prioritize the most impactful emissions reduction initiatives.
- Carbon Offsets: Though AT&T aims to reduce our footprint to as close to zero emissions as possible, there may be some sources of emissions that cannot be eliminated. In these cases, we may invest in carbon offsets in the future. We are committed to pursuing only the most credible offsets and will be transparent in our approach. Carbon offsets are not included in our current footprint.
For more information about our goals, please see the Our Goals & Progress section in this issue brief.
Adaptation: Managing Climate-related Risks
AT&T assesses how regulations, developments in technology, and market or reputational factors could affect our company. In recent years, we have started looking ahead, planning for the long-term impacts of climate change. We have begun integrating forward-looking, actionable climate data into our planning systems to inform infrastructure decisions for the future. In addition, we’re making our data publicly available to empower municipalities, businesses, non-governmental organizations and others to assess and address their vulnerabilities and build climate resilience. Details about how we identify and prepare for climate-related risks are outlined below:
- Collaboration: We are engaged with internal and external experts to understand how we can best prepare for the risks posed by climate change and make more informed business decisions. When climate-related risks are identified or considered, they are analyzed in our company-wide internal risk management processes. We also work with other companies, governments, non-profits and academia to promote technology that tackles climate change and resource challenges.
- Climate Scenario Analysis: In 2022, we began work to conduct a scenario analysis with an external vendor. As part of this, we engaged stakeholders from across the company to help us identify climate-related risks and opportunities. The vendor will help us to prioritize among the identified issues and estimate the financial impacts. With this analysis, we will develop a response strategy and be able to better integrate climate-related risks and opportunities with existing AT&T ESG governance, risk management, financial and strategic planning processes. We will share our findings of the climate scenario analysis in our 2022 TCFD report.
AT&T is adapting our business practices to minimize the impact of the effects of climate change, including changes in weather and natural disaster patterns. We conduct regular analysis to help ensure our network infrastructure, such as cell sites, can withstand natural disasters and other environmental factors. For example, for certain locations we deploy high-capacity battery backup to our cell sites, which enables them to remain in service in the event of a power loss. We also utilize our CCAT and ClimRR detailed below.
Climate Change Analysis Tool
Developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, CCAT is an internally focused tool that helps visualize climate impacts such as wind, drought, wildfire and flooding at the neighborhood level—up to 30 years in the future. With the tool, AT&T can take climate change into account as we plan for network buildouts, maintenance and disaster preparedness. Details include:
- New Climate Data: In 2022, we received, validated and analyzed new climate data from Argonne covering inland and coastal flooding for the Northeast and Gulf regions. We also developed a new methodology to simplify hazard data, making it easier for network engineers to use the data to deliver business value. At the same time, we are integrating the climate data into our network planning and design tools. Our mobility team can use the climate projections to identify locations that are at higher risk of climate impacts. This helps the team plan future network builds and allows AT&T unique insight into how various climate events affect different parts of our infrastructure.
- Climate Vulnerability Analysis: We use CCAT data to analyze climate vulnerability of various network sites and identify which ones need retrofitting to enhance their resilience. To do so, we overlay our critical assets onto climate maps and look at our infrastructure, such as cell towers, central offices and high-traffic locations. CCAT enables us to strategically plan for the physical impacts that climate change will have on critical components of our network and operations. Doing so helps lower risk to our company and helps ensure we can deliver services to our customers.
Climate Risk & Resilience Portal
AT&T, Argonne and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) created ClimRR to advance access to cutting-edge climate projections and help improve America’s preparedness for future climate extremes. Details are outlined below:
- Access to Data: Using climate science modeling that is among the most sophisticated methodologies worldwide, ClimRR is publicly available and gives state, local, tribal and territorial emergency managers and community leaders free access to localized data about future climate risks that can be used to explore strategies for resilience. Community leaders and public safety officials can now understand how increasing climate risks like extreme heat, heavy rainfall and drought will affect their populations.
- Supporting Community Resilience Planning: Access to this information will assist municipal leaders as they strategically invest in infrastructure and response capabilities to more equitably protect all communities for future generations. For example, local public health officials and emergency managers already plan to assist community members in avoiding heat-related illnesses and injuries during periods of extreme heat. ClimRR can help those planners to understand where limited resources will have the biggest impact. Given that extreme heat events disproportionately impact older individuals and individuals with socioeconomic disadvantages, community leaders can overlay data about future temperatures with data about the population over age 65 and the population below the poverty level. That enables them to see where resources like cooling centers will be needed the most in the future.
AT&T recognizes that our company can be impacted, positively or negatively, by policies put into place to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable economy. We are looking at both the risks and opportunities associated with that transition. For example, a cost applied to GHG emissions, such as an imposed fuel or carbon tax or another pricing mechanism, may drive up the cost of fossil fuel-based energy used to power our network, operations and fleet, therefore increasing our operating costs. While we are working to increase the amount of renewable electricity in our portfolio, we still rely on the electricity grid and nonrenewable sources to ensure our energy supply.
AT&T works hard to support our communities, employees and first responders when disaster strikes. We collaborate and partner with non-profits across the U.S. to provide relief to affected areas. For more information, please visit our Network Quality & Reliability and Community Engagement & Philanthropy issue briefs.
AT&T believes conservation of natural resources and reducing carbon emissions is critical for building climate resilience throughout our operations and helping to reduce biodiversity loss. AT&T is committed to responsible network installation and maintenance. As part of this, we follow applicable laws and regulations, including the National Environmental Policy Act—enacted to minimize the negative environmental effects to historical sites, Tribal lands, flood plains, wetlands and areas with endangered species. When commissioning a new cell site, AT&T works to measure, mitigate and address direct environmental impacts through third-party environmental assessments.
GHG Emissions Inventory
In 2022, AT&T’s combined Scope 1 and market-based Scope 2 emissions decreased by approximately 6% relative to 2021.2 From 2021 to 2022, AT&T expanded our Scope 3 reporting capabilities to track and disclose additional Scope 3 categories, leading to an increase in our reported Scope 3 emissions.
Scope 1 (Direct) Emissions
Scope 1 (direct) emissions account for approximately 5% of our total reported emissions.9 In 2022, we emitted 930,000 MT CO2e. This represents an approximately 6% year-over-year decrease in Scope 1 emissions.2
AT&T expects to reduce its fleet emissions—which currently account for approximately 51% of our Scope 1 emissions—at least 76% by 2035. Our approach is as follows:
- Emissions Reduction: Through the end of 2022, our domestic fleet emissions have decreased by approximately 170,000 MT CO2e—or approximately 27%—from our 2015 base year. This represents a year-over-year decrease of 38,000 MT CO2e—or approximately 8%—from 2021.2 Although we expanded the fleet that supports our fiber and 5G network buildout, we reduced our overall fleet count. This overall vehicle decrease drove our Scope 1 emissions reduction.
- Collaboration: We are a member of the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance, which serves as a collaboration platform for companies to increase corporate demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and identify challenges and opportunities for adding EVs to their fleets. Research from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that an EV is typically responsible for lower levels of GHG emissions than an average new gasoline car, helping companies to work toward their emissions reduction goals.
- Moving Forward: In 2022, AT&T identified a handful of sites to begin testing EVs in our fleet operations. Preparations for those sites will begin in 2023, with more sites expected in the future. Additionally, AT&T is preparing to test fleet vehicles for home-charging scenarios and expects the delivery of its first round of vehicles in Q1 2023.
Refrigerants account for approximately 26% of AT&T’s Scope 1 emissions.2 We are developing an inventory database to account for all refrigerant usage and actual fugitive emissions as opposed to the current methodology based on EPA leakage rates. This will enable us to identify hydrofluorocarbon-free refrigerant replacements and develop a plan to reduce fugitive emissions.
13% of AT&T’s Scope 1 emissions come from our use of stationary generator engines, which provide critical backup power to help maintain our network reliability.2 With the growth of AT&T’s 5G network and the need to improve network resiliency in the face of more natural disasters, AT&T’s emissions related to backup generators is growing. In 2022, our emissions in this category grew by approximately 8%. This represents a challenge for AT&T. To improve network reliability, we must increase our use of generators, which currently runs counter to our GHG emissions goals. We are currently evaluating opportunities to use fuel cells and other power generation options to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel backup generation.
Scope 2 (Indirect) Emissions
Scope 2 (indirect) emissions account for just over 23% of our total reported emissions. AT&T reports market-based Scope 2 emissions in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, enabling us to account for renewable electricity in our portfolio. Highlights from 2022 include:
- Overview: Scope 2 emissions (from purchased electricity and steam—CO2, CH4, N2O) account for the majority of our total operational emissions (Scope 1 and Scope 2 (e.g., direct and indirect)). Our market-based Scope 2 emissions were 4.3 million MT CO2e and account for 82% of our operational emissions and just over 23% of our total reported (Scopes 1, 2 & 3) emissions. In 2022, our year-over-year market-based Scope 2 emissions footprint decreased by approximately 7%.2
- Emissions Reduction Opportunities: Purchased electricity represents our greatest opportunity for emissions savings. We have multiyear transition plans in place to reduce electricity consumption where possible and accelerate energy efficiency efforts. In addition to reducing our energy use, we purchase renewable energy so that the energy we do consume is sustainably generated. The primary reduction in Scope 2 emissions resulted from renewable energy and implementation of energy efficiency projects, including building optimization modifications and repairs such as HVAC upgrades and lighting retrofits. Additionally, we have decommissioned real estate assets and implemented network radio resource efficiency improvements, among various other energy reduction projects.
For more information about our energy programs, see our Energy Management issue brief.
Scope 3 (Other) Emissions
AT&T is committed to addressing our Scope 3 emissions, and one way we are doing that is through our science-based target to work with our suppliers to set emissions reduction targets. In 2022, we met this target 2 years ahead of schedule, with 53% of our suppliers by spend (covering purchased goods and services, capital goods and downstream leased assets as a portion of spend) having set their own science-based Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions reduction targets.
We report on 10 Scope 3 emissions categories that are material to our business. This is an expansion in our reporting capabilities, up from 6 Scope 3 categories, and accounts for the significant year-over-year increase in reported emissions. Our most relevant sources of Scope 3 emissions include:
|Scope 3 Emissions Sources||MT CO2e|
|2022 Emissions (by category)|
|Category 1: Purchased Goods and Services||6,100,000|
|Category 2: Capital Goods||3,200,000|
|Category 3: Fuel & Energy-Related Activities||1,900,000|
|Category 4 & 9: Upstream and Downstream Transportation and Distribution||714,000|
|Category 5: Waste Generated in Operations10||Pending|
|Category 6: Business Travel10||Pending|
|Category 7: Employee Commuting||108,000|
|Category 11: Use of Sold Products||260,000|
|Category 13: Downstream Leased Assets||700,000|
Category 1: Purchased Goods and Services & Category 2: Capital Goods
Our Purchased Goods & Services category emissions and Capital Goods category emissions include all AT&T spend, excluding categories that are already addressed in Scope 3 to avoid double counting. AT&T evaluates its global spend and applies U.S. EPA Environmentally Extended Input-Output emissions factors to that spend to determine its purchased goods and services footprint. AT&T is developing the capability to integrate supplier-specific emissions factors as well as life cycle assessment data when available from suppliers. Those capabilities are expected to grow over the next several years.
Category 3: Fuel & Energy-Related Activities
Our Fuel & Energy-Related Activities category emissions include an assessment of all AT&T Scope 1 and 2 energy consumption. AT&T includes upstream emissions from purchased fuels and electricity as well as transmission and distribution losses.
Category 4 & 9: Upstream and Downstream Transportation and Distribution
Our Upstream and Downstream Transportation and Distribution category emissions include all AT&T spend relating to the transportation of products and services to and from AT&T locations. AT&T currently utilizes spend to calculate these emissions but plans to improve data capture from suppliers to increase transparency and identify opportunities for improved emissions performance.
Category 5: Waste Generated in Operations
AT&T waste generated includes corrugated containers, office paper, lumber, yard trimmings, mixed paper, mixed metals, mixed plastics, mixed recyclables, food waste, mixed organics, construction debris and mixed municipal solid waste. AT&T utilized the EPA’s Emission Factors Hub to report emissions from several different waste management practices.
Category 6: Business Travel
Our business-related travel includes air and rail travel, rental car use and hotel spend. Given the emergence of alternatives to rental cars for local business transportation (i.e., Uber, Lyft, etc.), we know that there is now a segment of business travel that is essentially unaccounted for. We are researching options to account for these emissions in future reports. Business travel calculations are based on the following emission factors: U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) (2020) for air travel, The Climate Registry (2020) for rental cars, and EPA Emission Factors Hub (Employee Commuting, 2020) and DEFRA (2020) for rail travel.
Category 7: Employee Commuting
Our Employee Commuting category emissions include all AT&T employees. AT&T evaluates employees’ status as in-office, telework or flex, then determines the average commute data through the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Streetlight Commutes across the U.S. For non-U.S.-based employees, average U.S. data is assumed.
Category 11: Use of Sold Products
Our Use of Sold Products category emissions include mobility devices that are sold or leased to customers. All devices in this category are treated as sold because the devices are not depreciated. AT&T evaluates the average device energy consumption over its average life on the AT&T network.
Category 13: Downstream Leased Assets
We track emissions from the operation of assets owned by AT&T and leased to other entities (e.g., customers) that are not already included in Scope 1 or 2. Leased Assets only include customer gateways. Total emissions from leased assets for 2022 were approximately 700,000 MT CO2e, a 47% decrease from 2021.2 The overwhelming majority of the decline in Scope 3 category 13 is from the divestiture of DIRECTV. Only 2% of the emissions reductions are represented from our residential gateways.
Our Path Forward
Climate change affects all of us. It is imperative that every person and company play their part in reducing emissions and combatting the effects of climate change. In 2023, we will continue to identify and scale Smart Climate Solutions, build climate resilience, and build climate literacy in and outside our business:
- We are in the process of automating significant portions of our GHG emissions data collection and the calculations associated with our annual GHG emissions statement. The goal is to reduce data collection time, reduce processing time, speed up data validation and decrease the likelihood of human error. We expect to test this system for the 2022 reporting cycle and transition to this system for the 2023 reporting cycle. Higher quality and more quickly available data will help us better understand our opportunities to reduce emissions.
- AT&T will build out training for our employees on how to use climate data effectively for decision making.
- We also plan to continue working with FEMA and Argonne to drive awareness and utilization of ClimRR, helping to improve America’s preparedness for future climate extremes. We will do this by offering technical assistance webinars, leveraging our public sector relationships and forging new strategic alliances in the resilience space. We will also continue to build out the capabilities of ClimRR by incorporating additional climate risks into the model. For example, we will incorporate wildfire and flooding risk data into the model in 2023.
- We will continue to be intentional about how we collaborate with others to bring more Smart Climate Solutions to market, especially high emissions areas such as energy, transportation and industrial applications.
- In 2022, AT&T identified a handful of sites to begin testing EVs in our fleet operations. Preparations for those sites will begin in 2023, with more sites expected in the future. Additionally, AT&T is preparing to test fleet vehicles for home-charging scenarios and expects the delivery of its first round of vehicles in Q1 2023.
- 2022 AT&T Gigaton Goal Progress Update
- Argonne National Laboratory
- AT&T 10x Case Study
- AT&T Carbon Neutrality Commitment
- AT&T CDP Climate Change Disclosure
- AT&T Climate Change Policy
- AT&T Climate Strategy & Transition Plan
- AT&T Energy Policy
- AT&T Gigaton Goal
- AT&T Renewable Energy
- AT&T Smart Climate Solutions Website
- AT&T Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures Report
- Climate Change Analysis Tool
- Climate Risk & Resilience Portal
- Connected Climate Initiative and Gigaton Goal
- Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Greenhouse Gas Protocol
- Independent Accountant’s Report
- National Environmental Policy Act
- S&P Trucost Limited
- Science-Based Targets initiative
- United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
- Scope 1 emissions include direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by the company (such as the fleet). Scope 2 emissions include indirect emissions that result from the generation of purchased energy.
- 2022 data is estimated; final values will be available in Q2 2023. Data (2018–2022) is inclusive of all AT&T operations (U.S. and international). Starting in 2022, data does not include DIRECTV, Vrio, Xandr and WarnerMedia. Note: In July 2021, we completed a transaction with TPG Capital involving our North America video business—including DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse—to form a new company called DIRECTV. In November 2021, we completed the sale of our Latin America video operations, Vrio, to Grupo Werthein. In April 2022, we completed a transaction to combine our WarnerMedia segment, subject to certain exceptions, with a subsidiary of Discovery Inc. In June 2022, we completed the sale of the programmatic advertising marketplace of Xandr Inc to Microsoft.
- Data does not include DIRECTV or Vrio.
- Carbon emissions footprint does not include supplier emissions.
- AT&T expanded our Scope 3 reporting capabilities from 6 Scope 3 categories to 10 Scope 3 categories in 2022.
- 2020 and 2021 data restated to align with adjustments in our Form 10-K.
- Intensity metrics relative to our total number of subscribers include North America wireless, wireline voice and domestic broadband subscribers, as identified in our fiscal year 2022 Form 10-K.
- Calculated using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/inventory-us-greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-sinks.
- Inclusive of global Scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
- Data will be available in Q2 2023 after it is assured.
Last Updated: 4/21/2023
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